NEW DELHI: Expanding the charges against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje vis-à-vis the Lalit Modi ‘connect’, the Congress on Monday alleged that Raje and her son Dushyant Singh was in “forcible, illegal occupation” of the Dholpur Palace along with Lalit Modi through a private company.
However, after the state BJP unit refuted the charges in Jaipur with a few counter document, including Raje’s election affidavit where her gains from the deal was disclosed, the Congress hurriedly cancelled a Take-II on the issue.
There was no let up on the Lalit Modi saga though. By Monday evening, it had moved from political favour-trading to alleged kick-backs involving top-notch IPL players of Chennai Super Kings with Lalit Modi, in an TV interview, questioning why the Mudgal Committee on IPL match-fixing has not been made public yet.
The Congress by then, appeared a bit of a divided house with a Congress old-guard intoning that the party “should have remained focused on the issue conflict of interest (Sushma Swaraj and Raje) and the pending ED cases - not allowing this man (Lalit Modi) to run amok on the entire political class, fling allegations at whosoever he wants. We’ve made him an international celebrity!”
Anyhow, the day began with senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claiming that Hemant Singh, the estranged husband of Raje, had admitted before a court that the Dholpur palace was the property of the Rajasthan Government.
Armed with court papers and other documents, Ramesh pointed out how Hemant Singh had said that several revenue department documents between 1954 and 2010 showed that the palace was a government property but Raje and Lalit Modi’s company has turned it into a “high-end luxury hotel” and invested RS 100 crore with no role of the state government.
Ironically, this transaction had taken place post-2009 when the state was ruled by the Congress.
Ramesh said that Raje in her 2013 Assembly poll affidavit had admitted having shares of the Niyant Heritage Hotels Pvt Ltd along with Dushyant and daughter-in-law Niharika, and Lalit .
“The election affidavit reflects that she owns 3,280 shares, her son and daughter-in-law about 3,225 shares each and Lalit’s company Ananda Heritage Hotels Pvt Ltd 815 shares, establishing the financial relationship, partnership and investment of overseas money from a tax haven,” he said.
He said it proved her business partnership with the former IPL chief, who is now a “fugitive”.
The Congress leader alleged that Lalit had used the “Mauritius route” to invest in the company.
He also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, describing him as ‘Swami Maunendra Baba’ for his continued silence over the Lalitgate issue.